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TV and Movies

Best Netflix shows right now

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House and all the best original series to binge.

Netflix

Warning: Not safe for productivity. Look, there's no shortage of original Netflix series to binge on this weekend. But which ones are worth your time? Here's a personal list of the best of the best to check out.

1

The Haunting of Hill House

Tina Rowden/Netflix

The Haunting of Hill House

Metacritic score: Season 1: 79

Stream on Netflix

I'm not going to lie to you: Twice I tried watching this show alone at night and I failed both times. I finally had to watch it during the daytime, but it was totally worth it. The Haunting of Hill House is not only super scary, but this family drama is also fantastically well made. One could argue that the scariest part of the series is how eerily spot-on the casting is between the children, the parents and their grown-up counterparts.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Metacritic score: Season 1: 75

Stream on Netflix

Look, this is not your '90s TGIF sitcom. The new Netflix series is dark, lurid and not the least bit family friendly. Rather than making campy fluff, the show aims to tackle social issues head on. Kiernan Shipka also delights as the teen witch Sabrina Spellman, a character who consistently questions corrupt authority and the patriarchy. You can read my full length review of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina here, but it's definitely a show you're going to want to binge watch this weekend.  

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Stream on Netflix

I don't want to oversell it, but The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell may be the greatest show ever made. How do I even explain its majesty? What if Tim Burton broke onto the set of Sesame Street, stole some puppets and decided to use them on an HGTV-esque DIY show? The new series is mostly a reality show where the incredibly talented Christine McConnell shows you how to make insanely impressive crafting and baking projects that the average viewer will never be able to replicate. But it's also a little bit twisted and wildly delightful. I'm madly in love with this show, and if it doesn't get renewed I will lose all faith in humanity. 

cccm-1

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Netflix

Maniac

Metacritic score: Season 1: 76

Stream on Netflix

If Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is your favorite film, Maniac might be the television show for you. The new original series starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone is strange, surreal and oddly satisfying. My roommate and I watched the entire season in a single sitting, which might say more about us than the show itself. But if you're looking for something new, Maniac's a great way to burn a Saturday. 

Big Mouth

Metacritic score: Season 1: 80 

Stream on Netflix. Season 2 premieres Oct. 5!

Oh hello, Big Mouth. Take a walk down memory lane into Nick Kroll's childhood, and prepare to laugh your ass off. This adult animated series is stacked with many of my all-time favorite comedians, including John Mulaney, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas and Maya Rudolph. Also I'll save you some time: Maurice the Hormone Monster is voiced not by Will Arnett, but Nick Kroll. (A coincidence that should remain between Amy Poehler and her therapist.)

American Vandal  

Metacritic score: Season 1: 75; Season 2: 76

Stream on Netflix

Mockumentaries are my absolute favorite. And though I think we collectively burned out a touch after prime time sitcoms decided to commandeer the genre, it was about time the mocuseries got back to its roots as truly delightful satire. American Vandal knocks it out of the park. The "documentary" investigates a high-school prank in which 27 cars in a faculty parking lot have penises spray painted on them. It's clever in unexpected ways, and it captures high school in a supremely relatable fashion.

BoJack Horseman

Metacritic score: Season 1: 59; Season 2: 90; Season 3: 89; Season 4: 87; Season 5: 92

Stream on Netflix

Word of advice: Skip Flaked, a show about a brooding middle-aged man starring Will Arnett and just watch BoJack Horseman, an animated show about a brooding middle-aged (horse)man starring Will Arnett. Slickly written and painfully honest, BoJack makes a fresh case for why adults should take more animated shows seriously. But maybe don't watch this one if you're going through a rough patch in life. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Nailed It!

Stream on Netflix

It's summer, it's scorching out, and quite frankly all we want to do is live that sweet air-conditioned couch potato life. OK, not me personally, because I live in San Francisco and am still using my heater at night. I digress. Netflix has been expanding its reality TV bench, and though some cooking competitions have been lackluster (I'm looking at you Cooking on High), Nailed It! is delightful. There's nothing better than watching amateur bakers create mini-disasters in the kitchen. 

Orange Is the New Black 

Metacritic score: Season 1: 79; Season 2: 89; Season 3: 83; Season 4: 86; Season 5: 67; Season 6: 69

Stream on Netflix

Everyone expects a TV show to take a nosedive in quality around its fourth or fifth season. Maybe the most recent season of OITNB was weaker compared with previous seasons, but it's all relative. The weakest season of OITNB still managed to hold my attention in ways many other TV shows can't. The show has struggled in giving enough screen and story time to its extensive and well-loved ensemble cast, but are we really going to fault a show for having too many incredibly talented actors?

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee 

Season 10 premieres July 6!

Stream on Netflix

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee first premiered in 2012 and already has nine seasons that originally aired on Crackle. Now Netflix continues the series with Season 10 and it's packed with celebrities including Kate McKinnon, Dave Chappelle and Ellen DeGeneres. The show is fun, simple and easy to watch on a lazy weekend. Do yourself a favor and have a good laugh.

Queer Eye

Metacritic score: Season 1: 73; Season 2: 79 

Stream on Netflix 

You're probably wondering if a reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, almost 15 years after the original show aired, would even work. Well, I have some fantastic news for you: It does. The new Queer Eye may be a makeover reality show, but it tackles a number of challenging social issues with thoughtfulness and sincerity. As a heartless robot person who almost never cries, it was an unexpected surprise that I was practically in tears nearly every episode.

GLOW 

Metacritic score: Season 1: 81; Season 2: 84

Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix!

Are you ready for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling? I was skeptical at first (nostalgia is a slippery slope), but I thoroughly loved this 1980s women's wrestling throwback. While the dramatic side of the show throws weaker punches, the comedic, campy side is a total knockout. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin have the perfect frenemy dynamic. In fact, the elements of GLOW that work really highlight why wrestling in general makes for such captivating entertainment.

Dear White People 

Metacritic score: Season 1: 85; Season 2: 89 

Stream on Netflix

Did you ever catch the movie? I thoroughly enjoyed Dear White People when it came out, and was thrilled that the show manages to capture the uniquely powerful and savvy storytelling style of the film. The show focuses on the lives of students of color at a mostly white university. It's thoughtful at a time many of us are looking for thoughtfulness in our media, and it's also really funny.

The Standups

Stream on Netflix

Netflix has no shortage of stand-up comedy specials, and sometimes it's overwhelming to try and choose one to watch. Cue The Standups, which features tight half-hour episodes focusing on up-and-coming comics. It's a low-commitment way to find some new comics you might enjoy, and the perfect length if you're looking for something fun and quick to watch that isn't another sitcom rerun. (No judgements. I'm sure I'll be starting my dozenth Parks and Recreation rewatch any day now.)

On My Block

Stream on Netflix

This isn't just another coming of age show for teenagers. OK, well actually it is. But you need to be watching it anyway! The show follows four close friends living in Los Angeles and it's gripping. The kids are lovable and relatable, and I'm predicting these young actors will start popping up everywhere. Plus it's refreshing to see On My Block tackle adolescence from a seldom seen perspective. 

Marvel's Jessica Jones

Metacritic score: Season 1: 81; Season 2: 70 

Stream on Netflix

Netflix has its work cut out, trying to make small-potato TV shows that match the behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With only one exception, it's done an arguably better job than network television. If you're looking to start with a Marvel show, Jessica Jones is probably your best bet. The first season's villain is straightforward, and Jessica Jones is probably the most accessible of the TV superheroes (badass leather jacket and all).

Love

Metacritic score: Season 1: 72; Season 2: 80; Season 3: 77 

Stream on Netflix

Maybe it's because I'm a somewhat dysfunctional single millennial, but lately I've been worried that love is actually more challenging than Disney movies initially led me to believe. Which is probably why I found both seasons of Love so completely enjoyable. Love focuses on the budding relationship between Gus and Mickey. There's nothing showy about it -- the real razzle-dazzle comes from a sharp, hilarious script.

Dark

Metacritic score: 61 

Stream on Netflix

You've probably heard someone describe Netflix's Dark as a German Stranger Things. But I think that's underselling this eerie sci-fi thriller about time travel. Here's how I assume Dark came to fruition: Someone was watching Back to the Future and said, "OK, but what if this movie was a TV show made by Germans?" And a friend responded, "Oh man, that show would be dark." In all honesty, this show is so gripping that when I realized I was only four episodes in at midnight, I seriously considered staying up until five in the morning to finish it straight through. Just don't forget to turn off the English dubbing; the performances are worth having to read subtitles.

Black Mirror 

Metacritic score: Season 3: 82; Season 4: 72 

Stream on Netflix

Continuations of series that previously aired on another network exist on a spectrum ranging from "Why would you ever bring this back?" to "Rejoice, our prayers have been answered!" Black Mirror's third and fourth seasons on Netflix make a solid case for letting continuations continue. The sci-fi anthology series tapped into our deepest fears of the future and technology. Since each episode stands alone, at least give San Junipero an hour of your time; the show won two Emmys.


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Mindhunter 

Metacritic score: Season 1: 78 

Stream on Netflix

Big fan of true crime? This new offering from Netflix will probably be right up your alley. Mindhunter centers on two FBI agents in 1977 interviewing serial killers. If you're mildly obsessed with psychopaths, it's a pretty fascinating look at the early days of criminal profiling. Even though Mindhunter benefits from the strong visual stylings of David Fincher (who executive produced the show and directed four of its episodes), you could honestly just throw this on in the background while you cook dinner.

Easy 

Metacritic score: Season 1: 72 

Stream on Netflix

The great thing about an anthology drama series like Easy is that they're so easy to watch. So much so, you don't need to actually add Easy to your Netflix watch list. Statistically, if you hang out with a group of three or more millennials for more than an hour, Easy will inevitably end up on the television in the background. Easy is well written, well executed and thoughtful. Enjoy any of the eight episodes as they come your way.

Stranger Things 

Metacritic score: Season 1: 76; Season 2: 78 

Stream on Netflix

Look, if you didn't watch this one last summer like the rest of us, stop procrastinating. You're special. You're unique. You deserve to have Stranger Things in your life. This sci-fi fantastical horror '80s-nostalgia throwback is probably the most addictive offering on Netflix. I'm not going to spend any longer trying to convince you to watch it, because it should already be playing on your TV right now. Go!

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